WASHINGTON: Despite “attempts to derail” the recently introduced Goods and Services Tax or GST, the states are adopting the new regime at a fast pace, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.
Mr Jaitley was responding to a question on the biggest challenges for the national sales tax GST during a conversation with Dan Schulman, president and CEO of Paypal and Chandrajit Banerjee of the Confederation of Indian Industry or CII.
At the event jointly organised by CII and US India Business Council (USIBC) in New York, Mr Jaitley said global integration of Indian economy is happening at a time when other economies are becoming more protectionist.
Asserting that India is now one of the best places to do business because of the series of steps being taken by the government in the last three years, Mr Jaitley said procedures have been simplified.
Now as much as 95 per cent of the investments are through the automatic route, and foreign investment promotion board has been abolished, he noted. Today, 99 per cent of tax queries are addressed online, he added.
States are now being ranked on ease of doing business, he told the audience in Washington.
India is now capable of taking big decisions and implementing them at a large-scale and at a fast pace, the union finance minister said.
“As many as 250 highways projects are under construction. India is now having surplus power and capacity of Indian ports have been expanded,” he said.
Responding to a question on digital payments, he said the younger generation is taking on to modern payment methods in a big way. Further, all government benefits are now linked directly to bank accounts (Jan Dhan accounts). The government has also introduced low cost insurance policies to incentivise the bank holders, he said.
Mr Jaitley who arrived yesterday in New York also addressed US investors about recent economic reform initiatives in India.
He is slated to address the students at Columbia University today. The finance minister is in the US to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. But before arriving in Washington DC for the annual IMF and World Bank meetings, he would travel to Boston to address the students at Harvard University and interact with the US business community in Boston.
During his three day stay at Washington, the finance minister will hold a bilateral meeting with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
He will also participate in an interactive seminar organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry or FICCI on “India Opportunity Conference” and attend the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Working Dinner on October 12.